So there is this article in the NYT today with the usual clichés about Love and the French so that Americans continue fantasizing.
Another example of over generalisation: the phenomena which is described here is mainly a Parisian thing for what I know and 99,9% of the French (outside Paris I mean) don't know about it.
But even in Paris with say 2 million inhabitants, I'm not sure more than 1 % of them know about this tourist's habit which seems to be less than a few year old.
The only place where I saw these padlocks was on the Pont des Arts. It took me a while to understand what it was all about until I put two and two together.
Bon, ça ne mange pas de pain et la Ville de Paris les enlève régulièrement, otherwise there would be grappes of padlocks over the River Seine.
The interesting thing though is that a practise which in the first place probably started with one young man having an idea to have his girlfriend marvel at how he was in love with her, has been imitated God knows how and has now become the thing to do for dozens of thousands couples, whether Americans/Japanese/Chinese etc. and seems to epitomize in the eyes of millions from the world the way "the French" approach the notion of love.
But now I notice the name of the author of the article is Agnès Poirier which is as French as you get and I wonder if she's not on a secret mission commanded by some sort of French Tourist Department (North-America section) in order to perpetuate some myth re. the French and love.
Her theory about how "the French" regard love as essentially being free and not bound in the wedlock's of marriage most probably appeal to all males in the world, notwithstanding their nationality. I for one am of this opinion too ;-)
But I'm not so sure females the world over, again notwithstanding their nationality, share this purported sense that love means being free and open to the mille et une opportunities that everyday brings along though...